The first hurricane to hit the United States this season hit Texas with high winds and heavy rain, although it was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Boats have been destroyed, power lines downed and streets flooded as Storm Hanna swept through southern Lone Star State as it continues to grapple with a different crisis – the growing number of coronavirus cases.
The storm produced sustained winds of 60 mph and dropped more than 12 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center. It made landfall on Padre Island, south of Corpus Christi.
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At least three 18-wheeler trucks and several other vehicles were overturned, closing a two-mile stretch of US Highway 77 in Sarita, near the Mexican border.
More than 283,000 homes and businesses were without power at one time.
Coastal states have been working to adjust their contingency plans to take the coronavirus into account.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Saturday that some people in need of shelter would be allocated hotel rooms to help maintain their social estrangement from others.
As the storm swept through, he said the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a declaration of emergency that will provide federal assistance.
He said: “Any hurricane is a huge challenge. This challenge is complicated and made even more serious, as it sweeps over an area which is the most difficult area in the state for Covid-19. ”
The state has seen more than 390,000 coronavirus infections and 5,000 deaths. It is one of many states, mostly in the south and west, that have seen record one-day increases in confirmed infections.
Henry Van De Putte, CEO of the Texas Gulf Coast section of the Red Cross, said the organization was opening shelters with reduced capacity to provide social distancing. Volunteers and people seeking refuge will undergo temperature checks and a medical professional will be assigned to each location, he said.
He said it shouldn’t take long for people to seek help because of the virus.
Mr Van De Putte told The Associated Press: ‘Yes, the coronavirus poses a risk, but so does flood water, so no electricity, so no drugs needed.
“We are doing everything we can to make it a safe environment. ”
Hanna is now heading to Mexico. Authorities in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas have disinfected shelters in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Hawaii continued to prepare for the onset of Hurricane Douglas, which is expected to bring sustained maximum winds of up to 90 mph by Monday.
Agencies contributed to this report